Dienbienphu


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Dienbienphu

or

Dien Bien Phu

(dyĕn`byĕn`fo͞o`), former French military base, N Vietnam, near the Laos border. It was the scene in 1954 of the last great battle between the French and the Viet Minh forces of Ho Chi MinhHo Chi Minh
, 1890–1969, Vietnamese nationalist leader, president of North Vietnam (1954–69), and one of the most influential political leaders of the 20th cent. His given name was Nguyen That Thanh. In 1911 he left Vietnam, working aboard a French liner.
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 in Indochina. The French occupied the base by parachute drop in Nov., 1953; this move prevented a Viet Minh thrust into Laos and provided support for indigenous forces opposing the Viet Minh in that area. Although the base could be supplied only by air, the French military felt its position was tenable. Weary of inconclusive guerrilla warfare, they were willing to invite an open Viet Minh attack in an area where their superior weaponry could be used to full advantage. The Viet Minh army, under the command of Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap, chose to engage the French, and by Mar., 1954, some 49,500 Viet Minh troops had encircled Dienbienphu, where some 13,000 soldiers, under the leadership of Col. (later Gen.) Christian de Castries, were firmly entrenched in strong positions. The first Viet Minh assault came on Mar. 13, and by the end of April, despite massive French air bombardment, the French defense area had been reduced to 2 sq mi (5 sq km). Desperate pleas for U.S. intervention were unsuccessful, and on May 7, after a 56-day siege, the French positions fell. This defeat signaled the end of French power in Indochina.
References in periodicals archive ?
The majority of "free French" troops to liberate Marseilles in 1944 were Moroccan goumiers, as were most of the "French" troops who surrendered to the Viet Minh at Dienbienphu in 1954 (including Mohamed Oufqir).
He gives a full account of key battles, such as Dienbienphu and Khe Sanh, occasionally discusses debates within the North Vietnamese Politburo, and also provides a few glimpses of Giap's personally.
The conflict between the two Vietnams grew out of the political, religious, and ideological legacies of the defeat of the French colonial regime at Dienbienphu in 1954, when the country was divided along the 17th parallel into a north section, assisted by China, the Soviet Union, and other Communist states, and a south section, aided by the United States.
The idea that France should own Vietnam was supported by the United States: first by assistance to the French to keep that colony, and then by direct American action following the French defeat at Dienbienphu and subsequent withdrawal.
After their defeat at Dienbienphu and their expulsion, ratified and legalized by the Geneva Conference, the United States illegally and without a shred of historical justification stepped into their place, established a neocolonial puppet regime in Saigon, and poured in tens of billions of dollars and ultimately over a half million troops in an effort to keep this artificial creation alive.
In 1954, France was forced to conclude a settlement of the war after their defeat at Dienbienphu.